Hockey / Sports

San Jose Sharks' Matt Nieto (83) fires the puck at the net to score 1-0 against Philadelphia Flyers' Steve Mason (35) in the first period at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Monday, Feb. 3, 2014. (Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group/MCT)

Flyers come from behind to beat Sharks, 5-2

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The Philadelphia Flyers, to paraphrase Dionne Warwick, found their way to San Jose on Monday night.

And found a way to beat the Sharks. Finally.

Matt Read, Michael Raffl and Claude Giroux (3 points) scored goals in the first 3 minutes, 56 seconds of the third period, enabling the Flyers to overcome a 2-1 deficit and jolt San Jose, 5-2, at the SAP Center.

The victory ended the Flyers' nine-game losing streak against the Sharks since 2000, and it was their first win in San Jose since 1999, ending a 6-0-1 drought.

Raffl pounced on a rebound of Erik Gustafsson's shot and scored with 17:31 left to give the Flyers the lead for good, 3-2.

The three goals early in the third period were scored in a 2:45 span, and Jake Voracek converted Giroux's slick pass to give the Flyers a 5-2 lead with 2:16 to go. Giroux had his third game with three or more points this season.

San Jose suffered just its fourth regulation loss this season at home, where the Sharks are 20-4-3.

The Flyers finished their California trip with a 2-1 record against three of the league's elite teams. They began the trip with a 5-3 loss in Anaheim, Calif., but rebounded to defeat Los Angeles, 2-0, and the Sharks.

The Flyers scored three goals in the first 3:56 of the third period to chase goalie Antti Niemi and take a stunning 4-2 lead -- against a team that had been 26-1-2 when it took a lead into the third period.

Read tied the score at 2-2 with a floater from the right circle that deflected off defenseman Matt Irwin and fooled Niemi with 18:49 left in the third period.

Just 1:18 later, Raffl knocked in a juicy rebound to put the Flyers ahead, 3-2. Giroux made it 4-2 when he beat Niemi from the left side about 1 1/2 minutes later.

Exit Niemi, the man who helped Chicago win the Stanley Cup against the Flyers in 2010 and a player who had the second-most wins (28) in the NHL this season before Monday.

The Flyers controlled the second period, but Niemi made several big saves as the Sharks maintained their 2-1 lead. Niemi also benefited from a squandered chance late in the period -- Gustafsson had a point-blank chance and fired over the net with the goalie out of position.

San Jose nearly made it 3-1, but Brent Burns' power-play shot hit the post with about 3:30 left in the second.

More than usual, the first period seemed critical for the Flyers.

The reason? San Jose has won most of its games this season because of its early-game dominance.

The Sharks entered the night having scored 56 first-period goals -- second in the NHL -- and having allowed a league-low 30. They had set a franchise record with six goals in the first minute of games, and had 10 goals in the first two minutes.

"They come at you hard. ... They have a mix of speed and size that's unbelievable," winger Wayne Simmonds said before the game, before he indirectly helped the Flyers take an early lead.

While on a power play 4:23 into the game, Mark Streit fired a one-time point drive past Niemi as Simmonds set up a screen in front. It was Streit's seventh goal, and it gave the Flyers at least one power-play goal in seven straight games.

The lead was short-lived.

Matt Nieto scored a power-play goal 3:10 later, redirecting a pass from Tommy Wingels. About five minutes after that goal, Nieto scored again, getting free from Giroux and making a pretty move on Steve Mason. Nieto took a corner pass from Burns as Flyers defensemen Braydon Coburn and Nick Grossmann both got caught on the right side.

(c)2014 The Philadelphia Inquirer

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